US, Germany stress fast-track uplift of northern provinces
The deputy ambassadors of the two countries visited Mazar-i-Sharif, the capital of northern Balkh province, and held meetings with local officials, including the governor, late on Thursday.
Flanked by his American counterpart Lorance Hogu, Germany’s Deputy Ambassador Oliver Owcza told a joint press conference with Governor Atta Mohammad Noor that they planned to spend more than $4 million on development projects in Afghanistan over next four years, with a major portion of the assistance going to the north.
He said the money was being spent on training national police, road projects, improving the air traffic control system and expanding air transport in the northern provinces, including Balkh.
Owcza said his country would not back out of the promises it had held out to Afghanistan with regard to post-2014 assistance. Most of foreign combat troops are to leave the country by 2014.
The diplomat also praised Afghan forces for successfully taking lead in the combat mission, saying the forces had the capability to ensure security for the entire country.
Hugo stressed the need for accelerated development process in the north, saying his country wanted to expand uplift activities in the north.
He said the US had set aside $80 million for a gas supply project from Shiberghan, the capital of northern Jawzjan province, to Balkh. Efforts were underway to complete the project soon, he said, revealing a power-sub-station was being established in Balkh.
Governor Atta Mohammad Noor said he had discussed with the officials issues concerning security transition, training and equipping Afghan forces, countering the drug trade and production and implementation of reconstruction projects.
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